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CMU grad, hiking accident survivor Ralston arrested in Colorado

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 7:43 a.m.
In this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo, Aron Ralston, author and subject of the film '127 Hours,' attends the film's premiere at Chelsea Clearview Cinema in New York.

DENVER — Aron Ralston, the Colorado adventurer who cut off his forearm to free himself from a dislodged boulder in a Utah canyon — an ordeal made into the Oscar-nominated movie “127 Hours” — was arrested in Denver on allegations of domestic violence after police say he and his girlfriend got into an altercation.

Ralston and Vita Shannon were both booked Sunday on charges of assault and “wrongs to minors.”

Police said the second charge is used when children are present during an incident but not necessarily hurt. Police documents say their 8-week-old child was present at the time of the altercation.

There was no indication the infant was hurt. Family members said Shannon's mother is caring for the child.

The documents allege Shannon struck Ralston twice in the back of the head with her fists and that he shoved her as she was leaving her apartment. The documents say they were arguing over another child of Ralston's.

The couple, both are 38, were scheduled to appear in court later Monday.

Ralston's attorney, Jeff Pagliuca, declined to comment. Booking documents didn't indicate if Shannon has an attorney.

“We're saddened that this would happen, evolve this way,” said Ralston's father, Larry Ralston. “We're hopeful that things will work out.”

Aron Ralston and Shannon face fines of up to $999 and a sentence of up to a year in jail if convicted. It is standard procedure for suspects in domestic violence cases to be jailed, said Assistant City Attorney Vince DiCroce.

Ralston's right arm was trapped by the boulder in April 2003, when he went “canyoneering” — making his way down a narrow canyon — in Utah. After five days with little food and water, he broke his arm and then amputated it with a dull knife to escape.

He detailed his struggles in a book, “Between a Rock and Hard Place,” which was adapted into “127 Hours.”

An Ohio native, Ralston graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1997 with degrees in mechanical engineering and French.

Ralston became a celebrity, making inspirational speeches and championing environmental causes.

He also continued his adventurous life using prosthetics he helped develop. He completed a nine-year project to scale the highest point in all 50 states and became the first person to solo climb all 59 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in winter.

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